Local Mom Spotlight: Alana Pennewell
We’re so excited to bring you our first Local Mom Spotlight! Alana Pennewell runs the incredibly successful Pennewell Playgroup.
Over 1,000 members strong, Pennewell Playgroup holds playdates all over Hampton Roads, which gives you something to do if you don’t feel like staying home with the kiddos!
Alana also owns her own business, Pennewell Placenta Pills. So we were incredibly excited that she took the time out of her busy day to answer a few questions for us!
How did Pennewell Playgroup start?
I moved away from Virginia for about 7 years with my husband. While in FL we had our first daughter. When we finally were able to move back to my hometown of Hampton roads I wanted to hang out with new and old friends with my daughter. So I decided what better way then to start making events for everyone to be invited to. So Pennewell Playgroup was formed. My daughter was about 1.5 years old and she is now 5! Starting out it was old friends of mine. Then they slowly started bringing new friends and it built and built from there.
How many events do you host per month?
Usually anywhere from 6 to 12.
Where do your events mainly take place?
We love seeing all parts of Hampton roads parks from Newport News all the way to Chesapeake. The zoo is one of our favorite places. I host pool party, tie dye parties, ice cream socials and outdoor movie nights at my own home! We also enjoy the programs at the libraries, the children’s museum, the beach, aquarium, Busch Gardens, Norfolk Botanical Gardens, bounce houses, and just about any where else in Hampton roads they offer fun kid stuff!
What age group are your events geared towards?
Babies until about 10 years old. Some moms start coming with tiny babies to just get out of the house and get to chit chat and meet other moms. (And to keep their sanity and not be locked up in their home 24/7!)
What big events do you have planned for April?
April is beautiful spring weather so we take advantage of all the local parks before it gets too hot. We pack lunches and bikes and go hang for hours since it’s so fun and FREE! We love free events! We also have Busch Gardens trips planned once a week all month also because we are trying to beat the heat of summer approaching. We will also be going to an Easter eggstravaganza and I intend to host a tie dye event and outdoor movie night at my home! Also a moms night out to make terrariums!
If a Mom wants to join you for a play date, how would they do it?
They simply request to join. I have a peek at their profile to ensure they are local and look to have children and they are approved
How the heck did you find 1,000+ friends to play with on Facebook?
It started with old friends of mine from school and old jobs who I knew now had children. Then they added people, then they added people, then it just kept growing. It also gets shared sometimes in other local groups when moms reach out looking for things to do.
What is the groups favorite place for a play date?
Parks because it’s free! Then I would say the Zoo because we all get passes!
Pennewell Placenta Pills
Now, you run your own business. What inspired you to get into making placenta pills?
I had my placenta encapsulated with my second child and I absolutely loved having them. It was a world of difference from my first birth. My milk supply was abundant, my recovery time was quicker, and my mood swings were definitely less.
My husband called them my “happy pills” and knew the days I did not take them lol so when we got pregnant with baby #3 he instantly said “You are getting your happy pills again, right?”
But my friend who did it for me last time had moved away. So I researched it for months and lots of studying and decided I could do this myself. While pregnant I even did a few friends placentas before even doing my own. I started my business Pennewell Placenta Pills July 2016 and I am thriving with the business and couldn’t be more happy I started it to help all these amazing mommas benefit after their births like I did.
What can you tell our readers about the benefits of placenta pills?
Having your placenta encapsulated is not only super easy for you to have done, It is also so beneficial for mothers after birth recovery. Some benefits people have noticed are : shorter recovery time, boost in milk supply, happier moods, more energy, fighting off baby blues, and stabilizing your hormones.
And for fun!
So you’re a mom of 3, run a massive playgroup and have your own business. How do you do it?
I actually get asked this question a lot! I love being a mother, I love my small business, and I love my playgroup so much. I feel if you love what you are doing you find a way to get it all done. I am also so grateful for my supportive and amazing husband. He works from home so I can rely on him a lot to help around the house or watch one or two kids here and there if need be. The play dates are my sanity. It is so nice to get out and have friends and chit chat while my kids are having the time of their lives.
As a mom, what or who inspires you?
My own mother. She raised some amazing daughters of her own and I have never wanted to be more like anyone in my life. She is the sweetest most selfless and giving person you will meet. I like to think I am like her and only hope my children look up at me as I do to her.
What’s in your diaper bag?
I always have 3-4 cloth diapers, a wet bag, water cups for the two oldest, water cup for myself, lipstick/gloss, thieves sanitizer, money, organic suckers (saved for bribes!), Sophie giraffe, nursing cover, basic essential oils, and usually a few snacks thrown in before we leave.
Favorite kid snack that you secretly enjoy?
I live a keto lifestyle so I can’t eat too much that they eat so I would say cheese sticks for sure! I remember when I started keto my daughter use to say “Why do you keep eating our kid snack” referring to “their” cheese sticks!
Finally, what is your favorite way to relax?
Floating in my pool all summer!!! I also love a girls night out. I plan those in the playgroup also. At least once or twice a month I like to get away kid free!
A big thank you to Alana for answering our questions! Do you know a local mom or business that you you think is deserving of the Local Mom Spotlight? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org